For World Homeless Day we’re busting myths. Did you know St. Herman House – FOCUS Cleveland operates an emergency shelter and a transitional house for men trying to break the cycle of homelessness in their lives? Help us share love with those we serve by fact checking some common myths that keep us separated from seeing Christ in each other. Learn #homelessness truths here!
Myth 1: People choose to be homeless.
People lose shelter for a variety of reasons. Unexpected job loss, family trauma, eviction, mental health issues, addiction – these are just some of the reasons why people end up unsheltered.
Myth 2: Homeless people just need a job.
Not all homeless people are unemployed. National stats vary. At St. Herman’s, 1/3 of residents in 2019 have some employment, but the work isn’t steady or income isn’t enough to make ends meet.
Myth 3: Employment solves homelessness.
Employment is one piece of the puzzle. Affordable housing is also key. To afford a 2-bdr apartment in Ohio, a person needs to make $15.73 an hour. 7 of 10 most common jobs in Ohio pay less. (Source)
Myth 4: The homeless use their money for alcohol and drugs.
There are many reasons why people are homeless. Addiction rates are higher among the homeless (from 25-40%) than the general population, but not all homeless are battling addiction. And the relationship btw addiction and homelessness isn’t always causal. (Source)
Myth 5: Homelessness only affects older single men.
Families make up about 33% of the homeless population in the US. Public schools reported nearly 30,000 students experienced homelessness in Ohio in 2016-2017. (Source , Source 2)
Myth 6: Homelessness is a big city problem.
While homelessness is more pronounced in big cities, about 43% of homeless Americans live in suburbs and rural areas. (Source)
Myth 7: For people who are homeless, cell phones are a luxury.
In today’s world cell phones are essential for helping people stay connected – with friends and family, social workers, social service agencies, and potential employers.